Part 3: CONTRARY CLAIMS, part 2
by Norman Manzon
7. For the overseer must. . . 9. [hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able
both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. - Titus 1:7,9
To review, the burden of these studies is to provide scriptural support for the claims in our doctrinal statement and respond to contrary claims.
We have seen in Part 1 that literal Israel and the literal church are not one and the same, that the church has not been joined to Israel, and that neither Jews nor Gentiles ever forfeit or lose their national identities for any reason.
We have also seen that the overwhelming Bible-based definition of "Jew" is one
who is a bloodline descendant of the Israeli patriarchs, and that that is the
meaning of "Jew" that we will retain in this series - the meaning that Yeshua
held to when He used the term. In Part 2 we have seen that, among the nations of the Earth, God has chosen Israel for divinely ordained purposes and privileges, and that her chosenness remains until the end of time. In part 1 of Part 3 we addressed those key passages in Romans that are used to support claims concerning Israel and the church that are contrary to these truths. In our present study we will address other such passages, and also address the claims of the Two-House or Ephraimite movement which apparently contains among its founders those who teach that all believers are physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob whether they know it or not.
The materials contained in Part 1 and Part 2 constitute an essential foundation for consideration of all contrary claims, and many of the arguments presented in part 1 of Part 3 also apply to passages that we will consider in our present study. It is therefore respectfully urged that all preceding sections of our Israel series be studied or reviewed before proceeding. Here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, part 1 of Part 3.
RELEVANT SECTIONS OF THE AMC STATEMENT ON ISRAEL
|We believe Israel is God's special people, distinct from the body of Messiah, chosen by Him to be a holy nation and a Kingdom of priests. The election of Israel is irrevocable. . . . We believe the Abrahamic Covenant is an irrevocable, unconditional covenant God made with Jewish people. This covenant provides title to the land of Israel for the Jewish people and promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would come to redeem Israel and bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations. God will ultimately fulfill every aspect of the covenant in the Messianic Kingdom, both physical and spiritual. . . . (Genesis 12:1-3, 15:1-21, 17:1-21; Romans 11:1-29; Galatians 3:14-17)|
Again to review, Replacement Theology or Supersessionism holds that because Israel rejected their Messiah and the church has received Him, the following are true:
1. Israel has been rejected by God as His covenant people.
2. The church is now God's covenant people and is therefore inward Israel, spiritual Israel, New Israel or some similar designation.
3. All church members are inward Jews, spiritual Jews, or some similar designation.
We will now examine passages beyond Romans that are believed or used by many to support the claims of Replacement Theology.
6. GALATIANS 3:6-9,29
6. Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU." 9. So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. . . 29. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.
And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham's descendants. With this passage, Replacement theologians visit a line of thinking that we have addressed before, that believing Gentiles are inward Jews by virtue of their faith; but as we have pointed out,
1. Even in the physical realm, only the descendants of the Israeli patriarchs are Jews, and even Nicolas, who was a proselyte to Judaism and was outwardly circumcised, and had come to believe and was inwardly circumcised, was still not called a Jew in any sense, but a proselyte (Acts 6:5).
2. Not even all of Abraham's physical descendants are Jews.
3. "Descendant" never carries the meaning of a change of race of one's body or spirit.
4. As in other languages, "descendant" or "son" is often used in Hebrew to designate a follower of someone or some cause, or of one who bears the characteristics of someone or something. In Mark 3:17, Yeshua called James and John "Sons of Thunder." He didn't mean that thunder had fathered their bodies or their temperaments, but that their temperaments were like thunder. In Matthew 23:31, Yeshua told the scribes and Pharisees, You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. He was not saying that they were direct physical descendants of those who murdered the prophets, but that they had the unbelieving and murderous attitude of those who murdered the prophets. Some other instances in which Scripture uses "sons" in like manner are: the sons of the Kingdom (Matthew 8:12);the sons of this age (Luke 20:34); sons of Light (John 12:36); sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2); sons of the day (1 Thessalonians 5:5).In none of these instances was "sons" used to denote an outward or inward change of race.
5. In Romans 4:16-17, which deals with the centrality of the believer's faith in salvation, Paul's quotation of A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU militates against the claim that all believers are inward Jews, which would make them one nation inwardly.
In light of these observations, it cannot rationally be concluded that the passage supports the idea that all who are Abraham's descendants by virtue of faith are inward Jews.
7. GALATIANS 6:15-16
|15. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.|
The claim that we are addressing here is that the believing church is the Israel of God, which claim is based on the presupposition that them and the Israel of God refer to the same group, the church. Is the claim valid?
A reading of the letter shows that the issue that Paul was addressing is that some Galatian Gentiles were being influenced by certain Jewish teachers who taught that placing oneself under the Law of Moses, which was accomplished by the rite of circumcision, was a necessary prerequisite for salvation by faith in Yeshua. Paul's response in verse 15 may therefore be paraphrased, "Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, or whether or not you put yourself under the Law, is irrelevant. What counts for salvation is being made a new creation" which, he says repeatedly in the same letter, is by faith apart from the Law (2:16; 3:2,5,11, etc.). 2:16: knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Messiah Yeshua. He then follows 6:15 by saying, 16. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and [kai] upon the Israel of God.
Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes:1
Covenant Theologians1 must ignore the primary meaning of kai which separates the two groups in the verse in order to make them both the same group. . . .
In a recent work, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, former professor of Greek and New Testament Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary, . . . makes the following observation: "[T]he least likely view among several alternatives is the view that the Israel of God is the church."2
Johnson rejects [that view] on three grounds. The first is for grammatical and syntactical reasons for which there are two.3 The first is that this view must resort to a secondary or lesser meaning of kai. . . .
|An extremely rare usage has been made to replace the common usage, even in spite of the fact that the common and frequent usage of and makes perfectly good sense in Galatians 6:16.4|
Second, Johnson points out that if Paul’s intention was to identify the them as being the Israel of God, then the best way of showing this was to eliminate the kai altogether. . . . The very presence of the kai argues against the them being the Israel of God. As Johnson notes, “Paul, however, did not eliminate the kai.”5
The second ground for rejecting this view is for exegetical considerations, which deals with context and usage. Concerning usage, Johnson states:
|There is no instance in biblical literature of the term Israel being used in the sense of the church, or the people of God as composed of both believing ethnic Jews and Gentiles. Nor, on the other hand, as one might expect if there were such usage, does the phrase ta ethné (KJV, “the Gentiles”) ever mean the non-Christian world specifically, but only the non-Jewish peoples, although such are generally non-Christians. Thus, the usage of the term Israel stands overwhelmingly opposed to the [view that the Israel of God is the church].|
The usage of the terms Israel and the church in the early chapters of the book of Acts is in complete harmony, for Israel exists there alongside the newly formed church, and the two entities are kept separate in terminology.6
. . . . As for context, Johnson observes:
|[In Galatians,] the apostle makes no attempt whatsoever to deny that there is a legitimate distinction of race between Gentile and Jewish believers in the church. . . . There is a remnant of Jewish believers in the church according to the election of grace. . . . Paul does not say there is neither Jew nor Greek within the church. He speaks of those who are “in Christ." . . . Paul also says there is neither male nor female, nor slave nor free man in Christ. Would he then deny sexual differences within the church? Or the social differences in Paul’s day? Is it not plain that Paul is not speaking of national or ethnic difference in Christ, but of spiritual status? In that sense there is no difference in Christ.7|
The third ground for rejecting this view is theological:
. . . there is no historical evidence that the term Israel was identified with the church before A.D. 160. Further, at that date there was no characterization of the church as “the Israel of God.” In other words, for more than a century after Paul there was no evidence of the identification.8
Johnson’s summary concerning the rejection of the view [that the Israel of God is the church] is:
|. . . it seems clear that there is little evidence - grammatical, exegetical, or theological - that supports it. On the other hand, there is sound historical evidence against the identification of Israel with believing or unbelieving Gentiles. The grammatical usage of kai is not favorable to the view, nor is the Pauline or New Testament usage of Israel. Finally, . . . the Pauline teaching in Galatians contains a recognition of national distinctions in the one people of God.9|
1. Covenant theologians. "The Covenant theory does retain Israel as such to the time of Christ's death. The church is thought to be a spiritual remnant within Israel to whom all Old Testament blessings are granted and the nation as such is allowed to inherit the cursings." (Chafer, Dr. Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology, [Kregel Publications, 1976], 4:311.)
2. Toussaint and Dyer, Pentecost Essays, "Paul and 'The Israel of God': An Exegetical and Eschatological Case-Study" by S. Lewis Johnson, pp. 181-182. Quoting William Hendriksen, Exposition of Galatians, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1868), p. 247, and D. W. B. Robinson, "The Distinction Between Jewish and Gentile Believers in Galatians," Australian Biblical Review 13 (1965): 29-48.
3. Ibid., p. 187-188.
4. Ibid., p. 188.
5. Ibid., p. 188.
6. Ibid., p. 189.
7. Ibid., p. 190.
8. Ibid., p. 191.
9. Ibid., p. 191.
Another significant point: In Galatians 2:7-9, the circumcision and the uncircumcision are twice identified as the Jews and the Gentiles respectively, and verse 15 of Galatians 6 uses exactly the same terms, providing rather strong evidence that the blessing pronounced is upon two groups: them, being believing Gentiles, and the Israel of God, being believing Jews.
1. The church is not the Israel of God.
2. Them refers to believing Gentiles.
3. [T]he Israel of God refers to believing Jews.
8. PHILIPPIANS 3:3
|3. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Messiah Yeshua and put no confidence in the flesh,|
Here again we are faced with the question: Since the circumcision refers to the Jews (Romans 15:8, Galatians 2:12, etc.), and the true circumcision is said to glory in Messiah, can we not conclude that, since the church glories in Messiah, she is the true Israel?
As always, we need to look at the verse in context:
2. Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 3. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Messiah Yeshua and put no confidence in the flesh,
A reading of the chapter shows that the evil workers are the same group that troubled the Galatians: Judaizers, Jewish teachers who taught that adherence to the Law was a necessary prerequisite to salvation. They are the false circumcision, which does not mean that they are not Jews, but means "mutilators,"2 whose end is destruction (v. 19).
Writing to Gentiles, Paul says, we are the true circumcision. All Jews and Gentiles who have undergone that circumcision. . . which is of the heart (Romans 2:29), a circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:11), that is, have been crucified with Messiah (Galatians 2:20), regenerated, are the true circumcision.
Consistent with what we have seen in part 1 of Part 3, being circumcised in heart does not render a Gentile an inward Jew, nor the church the new Israel. It renders such individuals and the church inwardly righteous, that is, in standing before God, as it says in Colossians 1:30: But by His doing you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.
Philippians 3:3 lends no support to the idea that the true circumcision refers to the church.
9. HEBREWS 12:22-24
|22. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23. to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24. and to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. |
By equating Mount Zion with the church in verse 23, this passage has been used by at least one influential theologian3 to conclude that the church is Israel. In other words,
you = Mount Zion = Israel = the church.
Is his conclusion valid? Both context and syntax demand that it is not.
As to context:
1. You have come to would have to mean, "You have become." That's quite a leap linguistically, and context demonstrates that it is groundless. The writer was telling his readers not to return to the bondage of the Law because they had come to the glorious liberty and present and future blessing of being in Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
2. You does not refer to the entire church, but to the writer's audience, Jewish believers. (Note the continuous and concentrated references to the Hebrew Scriptures throughout the letter.)
As to syntax: Note how the passage is cleanly divided between place names and persons or groups of persons. The first division contains place names only: Mount Zion, the city of the living God, and the heavenly Jerusalem, and they are one and the same: the holy city, new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from God to rest upon the new Earth (Revelation 21:1-22:5). Then comes the second division, which contains the names of persons or groups of persons only: the church, God, the spirits of the righteous made perfect (the Old Testament saints), and Yeshua.
The first division names the place, the second division names the persons or groups of persons who will dwell in the place. This makes three things clear:
1. [They] have come, figuratively speaking, to the place where the named persons will dwell, the new Jerusalem that is still in Heaven and will not touch down to Earth for at least for another thousand years.
2. Mount Zion cannot be a metaphor for the church because the church will be among those who will dwell in it.
3. If one equates Mount Zion with the church, then he must also equate it with God, the Judge of all - which would equate the church with God!
The notion that the church has become Israel cannot be squeezed out of the passage.
10. 1 PETER 2:9-10
|9. But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10. for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. |
Many who read this passage conclude that Peter is saying that the church is now Israel. Their conclusion is based on this line of thinking:
1. In Deuteronomy 7:6 and other Old Testament passages, God referred to Israel as chosen, a people for His own possession, and similar terms.
2. Peter is now referring to the church in the same terms.
3. Therefore, the church is now the true Israel or the new Israel.
Is this line of thinking valid?
To begin with, there is overwhelming evidence that Peters letters are not addressed to the church, but to Jewish believers:
Peter was the apostle to the Jews, not the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8), who were Paul's field of ministry (Romans 11:13).
He wrote to the dispersion (1 Peter 1:1. Young's Literal Translation). Israel was scattered into the Gentile world. The Greek term for the dispersion is diaspora, "the Diaspora" being the technical term for the Jews outside the Land that is still in common use today.
In 1 Peter 2:12 and 4:3-4, he contrasts the recipients of the letter with the Gentiles.
1 Peter 2:9 addresses a nation. Many other passages call Israel a nation, but no passage refers to the church is a nation. The church is a people called out from many nations.
Peter quotes the Old Testament copiously as in the passage at hand, which contains references to Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6, 10:15; Isaiah 42:16, 43:20, and 61:6. Matthew and the author of Hebrews did the same because they wrote specifically to Jews.
1 Peter was written in 63 AD, just before the Roman siege of Jerusalem. 4:17-18 is consistent with the Book of Hebrews, which warns Jewish believers to get out of Jerusalem and be physically saved.
1 Peter was not written to the church, but to Jewish believers. Therefore, the passage does not teach that the church is Israel in any sense.
Of the fourteen key passages that we have examined that are used by many to conclude that the church has replaced Israel as God's covenant people, or is Israel in some sense, or that all believers are Jews in some sense, we have not found one that passes the test of careful scrutiny.
D. TWO COROLLARY QUESTIONS
1. "DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE YOU'RE JEWISH?"
A pastor asked me that question. It is not uncommon for such suspicions or accusations to be hurled at Jewish believers. To assuage such suspicions, let it be noted that there are many highly credentialed true blue Gentiles who also believe it, such as:
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary:
|A vital distinction is drawn by the Apostle between Israel after the flesh and that portion of Israel within Israel who are saved. Those who are saved are styled "the Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16), and the statement that "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6) is a reference to the same distinction. The use of these passages to prove Israel and the Church to be the same is deplored in the light of the truth which these Scriptures declare.4 |
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, whose credentials are noted above: "In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there remains persistent support for the contention that the term Israel may refer properly to Gentile believers in the present age. . . ."5
2. THE POETIC USE OF "ISRAEL" AS THE CHURCH
May "Israel" be used poetically of the church in the writing of songs, the fashioning of a colorful sermon, or the like, as is often the case? Linguistically, anything may be used metaphorically for anything else. Someone may refer to me as a tube of toothpaste: Squeeze me hard enough, and everything that's inside will come out. But when one is dealing with biblical terminology, one must be extremely careful to not inadvertently undermine Bible truth. Speaking of the church as Israel will do exactly that.
Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Messiah Yeshua. - 2 Timothy 1:3
E. THE EPHRAIMITE OR TWO-HOUSE DOCTRINE
1. ITS MOST DANGEROUS ASPECT
It is not the goal of this writer to parse every aspect of Two-House. I will simply refute what appears to be its most dangerous doctrine, which contradicts truths we've studied regarding the salvation of Gentiles and the nature of the church, and also contradicts this excerpt from the AMC Doctrinal Statement:
|We believe the Abrahamic Covenant. . . promises a descendant (the Messiah) who would. . . bless the entire world. The spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant overflow to all the nations.|
This is a plain biblical truth, initially declared by God to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed,
and is being fulfilled in our Church Age in the train of Yeshua's command,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19). It began on the Day of Pentecost with the salvation of the proselytes (Gentile adherents to Judaism) present in Jerusalem (Acts 2), and broke into the non-proselyte Gentile world with the salvation of Cornelius in Acts 10. The plain and obvious teaching of Scripture is that the Gospel has been sent out to people without a drop of Jewish blood in their veins, and that multitudes of them have and will be saved. Revelation 5:9: And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
According to much attestation6 a major
belief in the Two-House or Ephraimite movement is that every member of the body of Messiah is actually a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whether they know it or not, Jewish believers being descendants of the southern kingdom of Judah, and Gentile believers being descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel, also referred to in Scripture as Ephraim (Isaiah 7:2:5,9,17; Hosea 9:3-16). Hence, the designations Ephraimite and Two-House.
To put any doubt to rest as to whether or not there are true, bona fide "non-Jewish" Gentiles in Messiah, this writer will offer evidence to the affirmative; but first, a look at some of the dangers of Two-House as expressed by Steve Shermett, former president of the AMC:7
2. DANGERS OF THE DOCTRINE OVERALL
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
Six Reasons I Believe the Movement is Unhealthy
1. It is a new type of "replacement theology". If everyone is Jewish, no one is Jewish. Replacement theology holds that the church has replaced Israel spiritually. The Two House movement holds that the church has replaced Israel physically: The ten "lost tribes" are the Gentile believers of today! It seems that they think (erroneously) that Jewish believers are descendants of Judah; yet they don't realize that Jewish believers themselves have no clue as to which tribe they are descended from.
2. All mistranslation or misinterpretation of Scripture is cause for concern: . . . as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2Pe 3:16, MKJV).
3. The Two House movement diminishes the uniqueness of the nation which God has called, namely, Israel.
4. Two House doctrine adds further difficulty and confusion within the Messianic movement.
5. Two House harms the perception of our authenticity as Jews, and therefore, our witness among the Jewish people.
6. It violates the principles of 1 Cor. 7:17-20, ISV:
|Nevertheless, everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him and to which God called him. This is my rule in all the churches. Was anyone circumcised when he was called? He should not try to change that. Was anyone uncircumcised when he was called? He should not get circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying God's commandments is everything. Everyone should stay in the calling in which he was called.|
I would add two more:
7. By virtue of association, it makes all in the messianic movement look like idiots. (Some might think that's not a bad idea, but I think God sees things differently!)
8. It reduces the credibility of that which is true in our doctrinal distinctives and emphases.
In addition to passages already cited, the author offers the following as refutation of the belief that all believers in Messiah are descendants of Ephraim or Judah:
a. Gentiles Were Saved Before the Cross
Melchisedec was contemporary with Abraham, Rahab was a Canaanite, and Ruth was a Moabites. All were Gentiles who were saved prior to the cross and prior to the formation of the northern kingdom called Ephraim.
b. Evidences from Zechariah 8
Zechariah spoke the word of the LORD in Jerusalem to the returnees of both houses of Israel from Medo-Persian captivity:
|8. Oh house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing. . . . 22. So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. 23. In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."|
The house of Israel was addressed as well as the house of Judah. Though, as with any nation, some of its members lost their identities among the foreign nations in which they resided, no tribe was "lost." Furthermore, Peter wrote to the dispersion, (1 Peter 1:1. Young's Literal Translation), "the Diaspora (the Dispersion)" being the technical term for Jews outside the Land still in use today. James wrote to the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion (James 1:1. Young's Literal Translation). In the New Testament, we meet Anna of the tribe of Asher (2:36) praying in the temple in Jerusalem.
Also, by comparing verses 8 and 23, we see that the LORD recognized members of both houses as Jews, and distinguished them from the nations. While the prophesied event takes place in an age subsequent to the Church Age, this distinction destroys the notion that the saved Gentiles of today are Ephraimites. The same distinction is made in Revelation 7:1-9: Israelites are the preachers, and a great multitude. . . from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues are the Gentiles who will be saved by the Israelite preachers.
So, Gentiles without a drop of Jewish blood were saved prior to the Church Age, and will be saved subsequent to the Church Age: during the Tribulation period, as shown by Revelation 7:1-9, and during the Millennium, as shown by Zechariah 8:22-23. Why would God cut them off from the possibility of salvation in the intervening Church Age right after Yeshua died for the sin of the world (John 1:29)!
c. No Apostolic Mention or Explanation
If God did cut off Church Age Gentiles from salvation, why would He not have one of His apostles explain such a dreadful departure in writing? Why does the New Testament never explain that Gentile believers are of the ten northern tribes, or call them Ephraimites? If Paul was the apostle to the Ephraimites, why didn't he say so? What he did say was that he was an apostle of Gentiles (Romans 11:13. Also Romans 15:16, 1 Timothy, 2:7, etc.)
d. The New Testament Distinguishes Between Church Age Jewish and Gentile Believers
Just a few examples: Nicholas, a Gentile convert to Judaism who came to believe in Messiah, was not called an Ephraimite or Israelite, but a proselyte (Acts 6:5). Paul refused to circumcise Titus, a Greek, but circumcised Timothy, who had a Jewish parent (Acts 16:1-3; Galatians 2:3). Gentile believers were called wild olive branches, and Jewish believers were called natural branches (Romans 11:17,24).
e. Key Terms in the Greek
In Matthew 28:19. Yeshua said, Make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). According to Strong's, the Greek for nation is ethnos, and it means "a race (as of the same habit), that is, a tribe; specifically a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually by implication pagan): - Gentile, heathen, nation, people."
Revelation 5:9: You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. The word for nation here is also ethnos. Also, the word for tribe means "an offshoot, that is, race or clan: - kindred, tribe."
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). The word for world is kosmos, and, according to Strong, it means ". . . the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants. . . .)" - and that includes more than just the descendants of the man Israel!
f. James' Application of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15
To resolve the Acts 15 controversy over the necessity of circumcision for Gentile salvation, James quoted the Septuagint version of Amos 9:11-12:
|16. After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17. so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name. - Acts 15:16-17|
James applied the passage to the issue of Gentile salvation in his day and age. The point he was making to his Jewish listeners was that God had made a way so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name. How could anyone interpret this as referring solely to Ephraimites in the Diaspora!
4. CONCLUSION AND COMMENT
Gentile believers without a drop of Jewish blood in their veins are being saved in this day and age. It is pathetic to have to prove it! The foolishness of teaching that God has excluded Gentiles from salvation in the Church Age belies a profound incompetence in biblical exegesis or a willingness to sacrifice the plain teaching of Scripture on the altar of some unholy spirit.
5. THE AMC STATEMENT ON THE TWO-HOUSE/EPHRAIMITE DOCTRINE
To summarize the AMC position on Two-House overall, I herein present the addendum to our doctrinal statement:
One More Item: Two House/Ephraimite Doctrine
We have been asked our position regarding the new/old Two House/Ephraimite doctrine and the related speculation about the 10 Northern Tribes of Israel supposedly getting 'lost' and then showing up in the USA.
At both recent AMC Conferences our President Steve Shermett presented seminars on these new twists on old false doctrines. Here is our [AMC website's] Editor's quick summary of what was presented:
1. The Ten Northern Tribes were taken captive by Assyria. After a hundred years Babylon defeated Judah with it's 2 Tribes and defeated Assyria and took all their captives, including the Hebrews of the Ten Tribes. So there was a reunion of sorts, albeit in captivity, of all the 12 Tribes. After more years, Persia defeated Babylon and guess what they did? They let everyone go home, including the members of all 12 Tribes, together. The New Testament records members of several of the Northern Tribes back in Israel in the First Century. So, they weren't "lost", they were reunited with the rest of the Hebrew people, and the myth of "10 Lost Tribes" is the product of poor Bible exegesis or an intentional effort to invent a scenario that names some group or church as descendants of a tribe.
2. Scripture uses the terms Jewish and Israel interchangeably, trying to invent some difference between the terms is really "reading back" into the Scriptures a recent false teaching. A good example of the interchangeability is Romans 11:1, where Rabbi Sh'aul (known generally as Paul) calls himself an "Israelite" of "the Tribe of Benjamin". Of course, Benjamin was part of Judah.
3. Gentile Believers in Messiah Yeshua are beloved of God and do not need to invent, imagine or make up a false Jewish/Hebrew/Israel lineage to be top-ranked "players" in the family of God. God loves Gentiles who love the Messiah. Selah.8
1. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Dr., Israelology (Tustin: Ariel Ministries Press, 2001), 691-696.
2. Dr. Charles Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978).
3. Loraine Boettner. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., 34.
4. Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dr. Systematic Theology (Kregel Publications, 1976) 4:48.
5. Fruchtenbaum, op. cit., 692.
An online search for "Two-House Ephraimite" will turn up much more material.
7. Steve Shermett, "The Two House or Ephraimite Movement," Shofar 3 of the Association of Messianic Congregations, May, 2006, http://www.messianicassociation.org/ezine03shermett.htm.
8. Board of Directors of the Association of Messianic Congregations,
"One More Item: Two House/Ephraimite Doctrine," http://www.messianicassociation.org/believe.htm.
For a continuous exegesis of every doctrinal point in our Statement
covered thus far, see the "We Believe" compendium
© Norman Manzon, 2010.
Norman Manzon is a Bible teacher in Hawaii
and may be reached at BibleStudyProject@hawaiiantel.net.
More of Norm's studies may be accessed at www.BibleStudyProject.org.
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